BuyTrain News

June, 2004

Professional Development
  ISM News
ISM Leadership Workshops
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North to Alaska!

Make plans to attend the 61st Pacific Northwest Purchasing Conference October 7-9, 2004 at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown. The NAPM Alaska conference is committee is hard at work on the programs. We'll get more details to you as soon as we can. Here are some highlights. 

Here are some helpful links for planning your trip:

  1. Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau
  2. Anchorage Daily News


Buyer Beware

In the last newsletter we talked about the terrible problems that can arise when subcontractors start subcontracting work. news0405.htm Not only can this be a major problem for the Buyer, but now with Sarbanes Oxley audit liability, contract problems like this can be turned into a major corporate problem.

Another contracting issue that can sneak up on Buyers and become a significant problem, is Conflict of Interest. That is, one of our contractors is making decisions to the benefit of someone else or has an incentive to cut corners in performance. 


Contractors can have a conflict of interest for many reasons. There is no way to get around it. Our job as Buyers, is to understand and anticipate the potential conflict of interest and then to take steps in the contracting process to mitigate the problem. We already do that to some extent when we check competitive proposals and involve 3rd party reviews. However, in the rush to get a new contract issued, it's easy to forget that we should be asking probing questions, investigating all potential problems and negotiating an air-tight contract.

As we've discussed before, an auditor may interpret our contracting decisions as failures and hold our company accountable. Here is an example where GAO auditors determined a buyer failed to mitigate the potential conflict of interest before awarding a contract. [Hold it....don't click that remote. Under SOX, even if you don't buy for the government, you could get audited. The Fed has just been at it longer and audit decisions are documented for our review].  

In this case, the Buyer lost because he did not adequately consider the potential conflict of interest and establish a mitigation plan before award. Note that the auditor was interested in having a mitigation plan not in rejecting the award altogether. Rationale; identify and resolve risks before issuing a contract!

- Science Applications International Corporation, B-293601;
B-293601.2; B-293601.3, May 3, 2004 

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) protests the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) award of a contract to Lockheed Martin Services, Inc. under request for proposals (RFP) No. PR-HQ-02-11750 to perform various tasks, including those related to systems development, data management, training, statistical services, and scientific applications. SAIC
protests that the agency failed to properly consider Lockheed Martin's potential organizational conflicts of interest.

We sustain the protest.

Two key thoughts from the case summary:

" ... the agency argues that it intends to engage in ongoing monitoring and supervision of Lockheed Martin's contract performance in a manner that will effectively neutralize potential conflicts. However, such post-award assertions do not negate the agency's pre-award obligation to "identify and evaluate potential organizational conflicts of interest." See FAR 9.504. As discussed above, the record unambiguously establishes that the agency gave no consideration....."

".....With regard to areas of contract performance creating significant conflicts, the agency should establish and document a course of action that will effectively avoid, neutralize or mitigate the conflict. See FAR 9.504, 9.506......."


Professional Development

Lots of advice on the net about what to do if you loose you wallet. Here is the bottom line from one article. I plan to print it and place a copy in the glove box of the car. That way I'll have the numbers if I am traveling. 

...Call the three national credit-reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. You may not think of I doing this until advised by a bank that an application for credit was made over the Internet in your name.

A permanent Record on CDs? Not unless you are careful!

As indestructible as they may seem, CDs and DVDs can be damaged by something as simple as a cheap stick-on label. Before storing a permanent or important records on a CD, I suggest you read a few articles on the subject or get professional advice. Here is a great article:

Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists by Fred R. Byers October 2003. 

ISM News

Minutes of the April 24 ISM Board Meeting have been posted on the ISM web site. Here are some interesting tidbits.: 

ISM Summer Leadership Workshops

Just a few weeks and counting until the Summer Leadership Workshop. I hope everyone who is involved with affiliate leadership and committees is planning on attending.. The programs are looking great and I think everyone will get a lot out of the workshop. 

If this is your first time, you are in for an enjoyable experience. Leadership Workshops are good places for meeting officers and committee members from other affiliates, sharing ideas, discussing plans and problems, learning about how you can help your affiliate and just plain having a good time with friends.

One of the favorite aspects people reported from previous workshops was the time spent sharing ideas.  These discussions work best when people come prepared to talk about what has been happening in their own affiliate. We can all use some new ideas and help in polishing the old ones. Please come prepared to share stories, copies, examples. Even if you are new to the organization, you can talk about what attracted you to join, why you volunteered, how well your affiliate communication works and what could be done to improve it, etc. 

If this is your first time attending a leadership workshop, here are a few ideas to maximize the return on your investment of time.

1- Meet people!. Go out of your way to introduce yourself and speak with people from other affiliates and organizations. We are all in the same boat together, there is no reason to be shy. Sit with different groups of people at each meal. You have all year to talk to the friends you came with, but only a few short days to meet and talk with new friends.

2- Network! Make some contacts in other affiliates and plan to share information via email or phone during the year. Bring plenty of business cards and plan to get rid of them all and collect a whole bunch of new ones. We are all purchasing people who volunteer our time for our affiliates. We can relate to the problems in the office, worries about recruiting members, problems with upcoming program schedules, etc.

3- Bring stuff to share. Any examples, samples, copies, you bring might be just the ticket for developing a new idea that you and your friends can discuss. Take a few minutes before you attend to review the information, handouts, flyers, newsletters, web site, etc., your affiliate may already be using.

4- Set definite action items. It's easy to fill up pages of notes and ideas while at the workshop and then loose them on the shelf. Rather than agreeing to too many generalized commitments, establish a few concrete and specific tasks for yourself with specific due dates. This is one area that a new-found network of friends can help with. If several of you are talking about writing a flyer, set a mutual task due date and then collaborate to get it done.

Remember that there are no right or wrong answers. Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do. Assume this workshop will be a self guided training program. Take charge of your own success and seek out the information and ideas you need.


Find more news and articles in the BuyTrain Archive 

Visit the Purchasing Toolbox for more articles on negotiation, E-Commerce and Professional Development

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That's about all for now. Hope you find something useful!

Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.

NOTE: I appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter.  



MLTWEB is assembled and maintained by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M. 
Materials and articles prepared by Mike may be shared for purchasing education provided that this source is cited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 11/26/2016